Published: 18:09, April 26, 2023 | Updated: 13:05, April 27, 2023
CE: Lasting ties with Bangladesh beneficial for development
By Xu Weiwei

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu speaks at the 52nd Anniversary of the Independence and National Day of Bangladesh Cocktail Reception held in Hong Kong on Apr 25. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Longstanding partnership between Hong Kong and Bangladesh will continue to promote mutual growth and exchanges, according to Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu and analysts.

“As a manufacturing powerhouse and one of the most populous countries in South Asia, Bangladesh has a rapidly expanding economy and is an important trade partner of Hong Kong,” Lee said at the 52nd Independence and National Day of Bangladesh Cocktail Reception in Hong Kong on April 25. “Over the years, Hong Kong and Bangladesh have developed a deep and longstanding partnership driven by our shared commitment to promoting economic growth and cultural exchange.”

After three years of fighting the pandemic, “we are now seamlessly connected to the mainland and the rest of the world again, he said.  "We are happy to welcome our friends from Bangladesh and indeed around the world to this Asia's world city"

The reception, hosted by Consul General of the People's Republic of Bangladesh in Hong Kong, Israt Ara, also drew Pan Yundong, Deputy Commissioner of the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region among others. 

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Lee also noted that Bangladesh has long been an important participant of the Belt and Road Initiative launched by President Xi Jinping. “China has become Bangladesh's biggest trading partner and the co-operation between the two countries in various fields has advanced smoothly, to the benefits of the two peoples,” said Lee.

Lee said as an international financial and commercial center, Hong Kong is committed to continuing in partnering with Bangladesh to drive economic growth and promote trade between our two economies.

In the opening remarks, Israt Ara, the Consul General of Bangladesh in Hong Kong, paid her deep homage to the memories of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. 

She also highlighted Bangladesh’s achievement in socio-economic sectors under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Highlighting the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Hong Kong, she hoped that the partnership would be further strengthened and deepened in trade and commerce, people- to- people contact, education, cultural cooperation and so on.

Ara in her speech mentioned that Bangladesh and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region have been enjoying excellent bilateral relations based on shared values and common objectives of economic and social progress. Hong Kong remains very important for Bangladesh due to its position as a major business hub in Asia. It has been a leading source of FDI for Bangladesh for many years, she added. Bangladesh & Hong Kong are expecting to sign the “Comprehensive Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement” soon and to commence negotiation on Investment Promotion Agreement. 

She also stated that a solid foundation of the bilateral relationship has inspired both sides to further explore new areas of cooperation from people-to-people contact to education and cultural cooperation and so on. She further mentioned that in Bangladesh's relentless striving for economic development, the People’s Republic of China has gradually emerged as a reliable and key partner. 

Ara referred to the MOU signed by Bangladesh with China on ‘Belt and Road initiative’ where areas of cooperation identified as economic and trade cooperation during President Xi Jinping’s historic visit to Bangladesh in 2016. Bilateral cooperation with China has experienced remarkable growth both in depth and dimension within these years.

Israt Ara, the Consul General of Bangladesh in Hong Kong, delivers a speech at the 52nd Anniversary of the Independence and National Day of Bangladesh Cocktail Reception held in Hong Kong on Apr 25. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

The trade between Hong Kong and Bangladesh has grown significantly in recent years. The average annual growth rate in bilateral trade between the two places was 2.1 percent from 2017 to 2021, according to Lee, and bilateral trade in goods reached $1.8 billion in 2021. In 2022, merchandise trade amounting to $1.4 billion between Bangladesh and the Chinese mainland was routed through Hong Kong.

Hong Kong and Bangladesh also share a long history of cultural exchange, with many Bangladeshis living and working in Hong Kong. “Your vibrant culture greatly diversifies our community, and we look forward to continuing to celebrate the traditions of Bangladesh in our East-meets-West metropolis,” Lee told the hosts.

After three years of fighting the pandemic, “we are now seamlessly connected to the mainland and the rest of the world again, he said.  "We are happy to welcome our friends from Bangladesh and indeed around the world to this Asia's world city."

"Looking to the future, I am confident that our two economies will continue to work together to build on our shared success and strengthen our friendship. We are committed to exploring new opportunities for co-operation, in such areas as investment protection, trade, culture, and so much more," he said.

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu (left) shakes hand with Israt Ara, the Consul General of Bangladesh in Hong Kong, at the 52nd Anniversary of the Independence and National Day of Bangladesh Cocktail Reception held in Hong Kong on Apr 25. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Tony Ho, the General Manager at Media World Corporation Limited and Vice President of intercham HK said the friendship between the two countries was deepened through the event in Hong Kong.

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“Bangladesh is also one of the most populous countries, and the abundant labor force makes Bangladesh one of the places with rapid economic growth,” Ho said.

China and Bangladesh have been maintaining great relationships for over four decades. China has been contributing significantly to the infrastructure development of Bangladesh, said President of Bangladesh Association of Hong Kong, Syed M. Mohiuddin Mohi.

Md Rabiul Islam, Associate Professor at the Department of Law and Justice at Jahangirnagar University in Dhaka, said Bangladesh supported the “one country, two systems” principle of China now well exercised in its Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions. “We do believe these two countries of China and Bangladesh will be forever friends,” he said.


Contact the writer at vivienxu@chinadailyapac.com